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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
PED scolds not impressed with MLB

When it comes to steroids, there's just no pleasing some people:

This Fahey fellow has become something of a nag, don't you think?

Look, of course he's right. The users will always be ahead of the testers, and particularly when the users belong to perhaps the most powerful union in the history of organized labor.

It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters to the fans and the writers and the broadcasters is appearances.

Have you ever wondered why McGwire and Barry Bonds have taken so much abuse compared to other baseball players? Have you ever wondered why baseball players have taken so much abuse compared to other professional athletes?

One reason: home runs.

If McGwire hadn't busted Maris' record and Bonds hadn't busted Aaron's, we would still see the sanctimonious carping but it would, I think, be at a lower pitch. The players of the past (and their records) have been romanticized, and McGwire's and Bonds' chief crime was to shatter those records in such (as we now know) unromantic fashion.

Now, though? The records seem fairly safe for the moment. John Fahey and Dick Pound can say whatever they like, but nobody's going to listen while players are leading the majors with fewer than 50 home runs (which happened in both 2008 and '09). Trust me: Until somebody hits 60 homers, everyone will happily accept the commissioner's contention that nobody's using the drugs anymore.

I do believe that fewer players are using illegal drugs today than five years ago, and I do think that's a good thing. It would be naive to think that nobody's using drugs, or that nobody's gaining a competitive advantage. But the WADA's not going to get anywhere until somebody hits 65 or 70 home runs.